At the Hazleton City Council meeting November 3, 2010 the council members passed a budget for spending federal block-grant dollars. Veteran Times Leader reporter Steve Mocarsky penned an article on November 5th about that meeting.
HAZLETON – City Council on Wednesday approved a new budget for spending federal block-grant dollars and asked the city administrator to look into the replacement of burnt-out street lights.
City officials expect to receive $1 million in community development block grant money from the federal government and $41,000 in program income.
The article lists the use of the grant money.
• $50,000 for Housing Rehabilitation Forgiveness Loans for single-family, owner-occupied homes.
• $60,000 for acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant properties for single-family homes to be sold to low- or moderate-income buyers or used as rental properties and managed by Housing Development Corp.
Dee Deakos made this comment during the meeting.
During public comment before a vote, rental property owner and Hazleton Taxpayer Association member Dee Deakos told council that limiting the acquisition/rehabilitation funds for rental properties to Housing Development Corp. was discriminatory to other rental property owners in the city.
Ms. Deakos has a habit of lobbying for money so that she may gain financially from its availability. Back in 1994 Ms. Deakos was the recipient of $7,020.00 "for the rehabilitation, preservation, and enhancement" of the property she presently resides in downtown Hazleton. Below are images of the documents filed for that money. As you can see the City of Hazleton held the mortgage/lein on her property.
Ms. Deakos evidently didn't find it discriminatory when she was the benefactor of a forgiveness loan in the amount of $7,020.00. On December 11, 2007 the City of Hazleton filed a mortgage satisfaction piece forgiving the entire amount according to the terms of the original mortgage/lein. The source of these funds came from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, commonly known as HUD.
Does she feel this action by Council would be discriminatory because she would not qualify for the funds? How does a "taxpayer advocate" essentially lobby the very government she claims to be watching for money? She could personally benefit but escapes the claim of "quasi conflict of interest. Self advocating is not taxpayer advocating.
Taxpayers should scrutinize Ms. Deakos's actions more closely to see who's interest she really has in mind. How many citizens of Hazleton would like $7,020.00 of free money to fix up their own residences?
She complained to HUD about a potential conflict of interest against then councilman Joe Yannuzzi over his involvement with Crossroads Computer hired by the City of Hazleton.
Yannuzzi accused Deakos of filing a complaint with HUD so that her computer firm would get business from the city.
She denied the claim, although a valid one. The fact that she is in the computer business gives the same appearance of a conflict of interest that mirrors the essence of her complaint about Yannuzzi to HUD.
Evidently what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander.